Duana Names: Ready For Some Joy

November 21, 2014 16:51:57 Posted at November 21, 2014 16:51:57
Duana Posted by Duana

Dear Duana-

I am pregnant for the fourth time in three years- all my previous pregnancies ended in miscarriage, due to a genetic condition for which I am a carrier. But THIS time, we've gotten all testing back, everything looks good, and I think I can finally say with some confidence that we are having a little girl!!

Here's where I need some help. I had always thought I would name a
daughter Chiara to honor my deceased grandmother (I'm italian). But when that first pregnancy came crashing to an end, the idea of using that name was just too painful. The second pregnancy, realizing I couldn't bear to use Chiara anymore, I thought about the name Isla, but we also lost that baby, and I had the same feeling about the name. The third pregnancy I was convinced it was a boy (it turned out I was right), and we would have gone with either Ian or Malcolm. Because of the trauma we've been through, we will stop at one child, so no boys for us.

Well, now, here we are, in a place that felt almost unimaginable a year ago, and I feel totally lost when it comes to names! I think I tried so hard to prepare myself for the possibility that this might never happen, that now that it IS happening, I just can't believe it and I don't know where to begin!

I really thought this would be another boy, and I became totally fixated on the name Felix, but I am really not into the feminine versions of that name (Felicity? Felicia? No.) I also love the name Oliver for a boy, but I'm less crazy about Olivia. Some of the names I love, but can't use because they are already taken within our little circle of friends are: Maeve, Cordelia, and Fiona. We just recently began toying with the name Rowan, which I sort of love, (a nod to my redheaded Irish husband) but which I think would need a super feminine middle name to balance it out. I'm also worried our family won't like it, and while I wouldn't make my decision based purely on that, I wonder what you think of the name.

Anyway, any suggestions you could provide to steer us towards a fresh name for this fresh beginning would be really appreciated. We are weary of worry and grieving and ready to revel in the anticipation of a little joy. Thanks!


Well, listen, I couldn’t be happier for you and I’m so sorry it’s been such a rough road to get here. Obviously there’s no one right way to experience loss but it makes sense to me that you would feel that the names were attached to the pregnancies and be looking for something new to celebrate this girl you’re getting.

So first off – what do I think of Rowan? I think it’s almost 100% feminine these days.   I know two young Rowans about 8 years old and I’m sure there are more I don’t know of. It’s not my number one but I don’t dislike it – I find it still sounds pretty fresh – but it’s hitting the sweet spot of ‘unusual yet familiar’ for a lot of people, so be aware of the popularity.

And can I just try one more time to wave the flag of Felicity and Felicia for you? I know, I know: “Bye, Felicia”. But that will go away in five minutes, and I’ve been thinking we needed a replacement for the ubiquitous-because-it-was-good Alicia.  And Felicity? That name means ‘luck’ and it’s pretty and it’s unusual and I know it’s rattling in your head a little….no?

Okay, then I feel compelled to suggest Freya. It’s so pretty, and unlike anything you were considering, and yet – not. Maybe?

Lydia? Or, if that’s not quite it, Lavinia? There’s some floweriness there but it reminds me of Cordelia and Fiona that you listed in the would-if-we-could-but-we-can’t chapter. Leonora, before I get off my L tip?

Coming at it from a much different direction, you might find that what you want is something that feels like it has, not an old-lady quality, but a bit of maturity. Daria? Wilhelmina (again, I know, but I can’t stop)? Sybil? Genevieve? Petra? All of these are names that say something special to me, without being unwearable or too announce-the-name-before-the-child style.  

Lastly, it’s on the lips of a bunch of name nerds but that usually means it’s beautiful – Greta is Great, not just because it’s an anagram but because it just screams style and grace without being called, you know, ‘Grace’.


Okay, I’m all over the map. Anxious to see where you land. Let me know please, and congratulations!

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